The congregation, still largely Anglo, draws mainly from Brickell, downtown, Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, minimally from its surrounding Roads neighborhood, once heavily Jewish.
A newly formed “young professionals’’ group recently drew more than 100 people to a happy hour at Tobacco Road, Sachs said.
“We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the past few years, but we’re building for the next 100 years,’’ said Sachs, a CPA. That includes offering special deals on annual dues, and relying more on voluntary giving.
He said the sanctuary’s new look and feel gives him “chills.’’
Interior designer Gisela Martin kept some of the old, most notably the ark, the retro-’50s brass chandeliers and backlit wall sculptures, and updated other features with a nod to tradition. She painted the white dome above the bima sky blue. The main lectern is portable. was trying to give to a more transitional feel,’’ said Martin. “I kept the ark the way it was, which has the Old World feel,’’ streamlined the paneling with lighter, horizontal-grain wood, and highlighted several details with silver leaf.
Cantor Julie Jacobs said that a new sound system enables the whole room to see the 14-voice choir, and makes it easier for her to “connect’’ with the rabbi.
“Just the sound itself makes it even more meaningful and spiritual,’’ she said.
Joe Falk, who saw the changes for the first time on Thursday, thinks his parents would have been as happy about them as he is.
“It’s a good start,’’ he said, “and I’m looking forward to the renovation of the rest of the building.’’
A previous version of this article gave a wrong street number for the original location and the wrong number for the Jewish New Year.